Gigabyte 970A-UD3 review

Getting on board the Bulldozer-ready motherboard bandwagon before it starts

TODO alt text

Gigabye 970a ud3

There's a lot packed in to the Gigabyte 970A-UD3 for its £85 price point. Six full speed SATA 6Gb/s hard drive connectors is a good start, and so are the two front-panel USB 3.0 headers (there are two around the back as well).

It really doesn't feel like a 'value' board at all. In fact, the only thing that's really missing is Crossfire and SLI support. There's just one PCIe x16 slot for graphics cards, but so long as you aren't planning a dual card rig there seems to be little reason to upgrade to a more expensive AMD 990X board right now anyway.

Funnily enough, though, one of the best features is the set of augmented power USB ports round the back. If you've recently picked up an Apple iPad 2 or an Android tablet such as the BlackBerry PlayBook, you may have noticed that standard USB slots don't provide enough juice to charge their batteries. Some motherboard manufacturers throw in some overvolting software to try to get around that, but two of the rear ports here appear to have proper pins for non-standard charging.

Other than that, the best distinction Gigabyte has – other than the quality of its underlying components – is that it's one of the best value boards for Socket AM3+ so far, and a full-size ATX one, at that.

Gigabye 970a ud3

We liked

The Gigabyte 970A-UD3 is a smartly laid out board with some excellent extras such as super powered USB ports, a back up Bios and Bulldozer support for a very reasonable price.

We disliked

For current Phenoms, there's not really enough to distinguish it over older 8-series boards that cost less. By the time Bulldozer actually arrives, it may not be the best value AM3+ option around.

Verdict

Right now, the Gigabyte 970A-UD3 is the best value Bulldozer option. By the time the CPU arrives, however, that will likely have changed.

The tedious but true conclusion about any 970, 990X or 990FX board right now, though, is that until we know whether or not Bulldozer is any good, it's an odd time to decide on a future AMD platform for your next system. Come back in a couple of months, maybe.

Tags

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset Model970
Onboard VideoNo
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots1
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket AM3+
Brand NameGigabyte
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedPhenom II X3, Phenom II X4, Phenom II X2, Phenom II X6, Athlon II X3, Athlon II X4, Athlon II X2, Athlon II, Sempron, Phenom II
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots2
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces6
HyperTransport Speed2600 MHz
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports10
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports8
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports6
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots5
Memory Form FactorDIMM
Processor TechnologyHyperTransport 3.0 Technology
Width305 mm
Depth244 mm
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Product ModelGA-970A-UD3
Product NameUltra Durable 3 Classic GA-970A-UD3 Desktop Motherboard
Product LineUltra Durable 3 Classic
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberGA-970A-UD3
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing Information

The 970A-UD3 motherboard is designed to offer a stable, high-speed platform for delivering amazingly fast data transfer via the GIGABYTE 333 onboard acceleration technologies. Featuring the USB3.0 controller, AMD 900 series motherboards allow users to take advantage of super fast USB transfer rates of up to 5Gbps, delivering 10x faster data transfer compared to USB 2.0. Utilizing the industry's first Serial ATA Revision 3.0 solution via AMD SB950 chipset, GIGABYTE AMD 900 series motherboards offer native 6 ports of next generation high speed data storage devices support with data transfer speeds of up to 6 Gbps with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10. The AMD 900 series motherboards introduce a unique hardware design with lower resistance fuses for ensuring lower voltage drops and providing more stable and plentiful power delivery. All USB ports also benefit from a 3x power boost for better power delivery to power hungry USB devices.

Package Contents
  • Ultra Durable 3 Classic GA-970A-UD3 Desktop Motherboard
  • Motherboard Diver Disk
  • User's Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 4 x SATA Cables
  • I/O Shield